Student, 20, named police chief in violent Mexican town

Student, 20, named police chief in violent Mexican town

Marisol Valles became director of municipal public security of Guadalupe "since she was the only person to accept the position," the mayor's office of the town of some 10,000 people near the US border told local media late yesterday.

Valles is studying criminology in Mexico's most violent city of Ciudad Juarez, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Guadalupe.Raging turf battles between rival drug gangs have left some 6,500 people in Ciudad Juarez alone in the past three years.

Much of Chihuahua state has suffered from the spiral of drug violence, including in Guadalupe, where the mayor was murdered in June and police officers and security agents have been killed, some of them beheaded.

Last week alone there were at least eight murders in Guadalupe, in an area deemed a high-traffic transit point for illegal drugs across the border into the US state of Texas.
More than 28,000 people have died nationwide in suspected drug violence since December 2006, when the Mexican government launched an offensive against its criminal gangs with the deployment of some 50,000 troops.

The Guadalupe mayor's office has only one police patrol car and receives security assistance from the army